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The Heart of a Killer [NOOK Book]

Overview


No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of ...

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The Heart of a Killer

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Overview


No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460340134
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 8,776
  • File size: 532 KB

Meet the Author


Jaci Burton is a bestselling, award winning author who lives in Oklahoma and spends a fair amount of time on the back of her husband's Harley, where she often gets lost plotting her next story as the warm (and sometimes cold) breeze whips her face. She loves reality television, is a sucker for romantic comedies, and completely loses track of time when reading a great book. She's a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you'll find in all her books.
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Read an Excerpt




He shouldn't have come home. He'd promised to stay away, but maybe it was finally time.

Nothing much was different in the old neighborhood. The only thing that had changed in twelve years had been him.

A lot had changed for Dante Renaldi in twelve years. The last time he'd been here had been the night he and the guys had killed someone in an alley. He'd left town right after that with Anna's father's help—more like his insistence—and he hadn't been back since. And in those twelve years he'd mastered the art of killing.

So maybe he hadn't changed much at all.

He vowed he'd stay away. Nothing was going to bring him home again. But one person could bring him home—his foster mother, Ellen Clemons.

Anna's father, Frank Pallino, might have asked him to walk away after that night—and never come back. And he had. But he owed everything he was to George and Ellen Clemons. Those were two people he could never walk away from. He trusted them.

They knew where he'd gone after that night, where he'd been all these years. They didn't know what had happened that night—he owed Anna that much. But he'd stayed in touch with George and Ellen over the years so they'd never think he'd walked away from them after everything they'd done for him.

So when Ellen contacted him and asked him to come home for her and George's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, there was no way in hell he was going to say no.

Twelve years, thousands upon thousands of miles and a few wars since then, he figured it was time to come home. He'd earned that right, especially after Afghanistan. If Frank Pallino didn't like it, too fucking bad. He'd kept his part of the bargain. He'd left, he hadn't tried to get in touch with Anna in all this time, or with any of the guys. And he had no clue what was going on with Anna.

Coming home could finally give him some answers.

Anna was the big question he was tired of wondering about. He needed to know, had spent too many nights bedding down on foreign soil, staring up at the stars and thinking about her. The only visual he could drum up was her in a shredded pink-and-white blouse, that damn heart-shaped carving on her chest and all that goddamn blood.

Seemed like the only thing in his head these days was blood. He saw plenty of it when his eyes were open, and he saw Anna's when his eyes were closed.

He didn't want that memory anymore. Time for some closure, to remove some of the blood from his mind.

His plan was to get in, get out, make it fast. He'd do his duty to Ellen and George, check on a few things, then leave. He didn't intend to stay. He was used to not staying long in one place, so he planned to treat this like a mission. All he had to do was get the intel he needed, then move on. It wasn't as if he and the guys were friends anymore. Or brothers. There wasn't going to be a reunion.

Once he left he'd find a nice beach for R & R and erase a whole lot of shit from his memory bank.

He'd rented a car at the airport, a nice nondescript midsize piece of junk. It wasn't military issue and there wasn't a chance in hell he'd be driving over a bomb, so this car suited him just fine. He almost felt like a regular guy.

Almost.

Ellen had invited him to stay at the house. He smiled at that. To her he'd always be a kid. One of her kids, one of the many who passed in and out of their lives, but to the Clemonses, they were all "their" kids.

And okay, he wasn't a heartless bastard. He was here, wasn't he? But he wasn't going to sleep in a race-car bed.

He hadn't checked into a hotel yet, just wanted to cruise the old neighborhood to see what was what. Same houses as always, same parks, same sweltering-as-a-motherfucker kind of summer night when the humidity could suck the very life from you, and if it didn't, the mosquitoes would. It was this kind of night he remembered from twelve years ago, a night so hot you couldn't take enough showers to wash the sweat off.

He thought about dropping by George and Ellen's house, but that could wait until tomorrow. It was late and they had kids he didn't want to wake up.

Tonight he wanted to see the old haunts, check into his hotel and get on the right time zone. Tomorrow would be soon enough for whatever reunions had to be done.

He was actually looking forward to seeing George and Ellen, the last foster parents he'd had before Frank Pallino got him emancipated and into the service of the United

States Army. Dante wasn't sure if that was the best thing that had ever happened to him, or the worst. But considering he'd been about to turn eighteen and had no prospects for college or a future, Frank Pallino had probably done him a favor. He had skills now he never would have had if not for the army. Either way, what was done was done, and it was better than jail or God only knows what would have happened to him. He owed the man.

He supposed he owed a lot of people.

The streets were wet tonight. A hard summer thunderstorm had come down just as he'd walked out of the airport. Dante had stood just outside the airport doors and watched the rain. It had reminded him of that night twelve years ago.

Full circle again.

Maybe he shouldn't have come back. As he'd sat at the rental car place watching the rain sheet sideways onto the pavement, the memories pummeled him, those twelve years sliding away. He could still see the alley, could still see Anna the way she looked when he and the guys had walked into the ice-cream shop that night. She'd been decked out in pink and white, her button-down shirt with the little puckers all over it, her dark brown hair in a high ponytail and her caramel-brown eyes mesmerizing him like they always had.

He wished he could remember her eyes and her smile instead of her tears and all that blood. He wished he could remember the happy times instead of the trauma that bastard had inflicted on her that night.

He exited off I-44 at Hampton and headed south, turning down Wilson toward the Hill. The old brick houses all looked the same with their small front porches and well-manicured lawns. Some of the restaurants had changed names, but a lot hadn't, owned by the same Italian families for generations.

Saint Ambrose Church still stood, proud and signaling the old Italian legacy of the Hill. Some things never changed. He toured the old streets where he and his brothers used to hang, wondering which, if any, his real mom had lived in. He had an Italian name, that much he knew. His parents had never married, and he'd never bothered to search his ancestry, figuring there was no point in looking for people who either didn't want to or couldn't keep him. He'd had his foster brothers, and the Clemons family who'd taken him in at fourteen and given him almost four years of the best family life a kid like him could have ever hoped for. That had been good enough.

He left the Hill and made a beeline for Forest Park. The park was deserted, but well lit to keep people like him and his friends from loitering at night. He loved the curving roads that led toward the zoo, the Jewel Box, the art museum, all the places the Clemonses had taken him. They'd made him feel as if he finally belonged to a real family.

His only other family had been his brothers. Now, those were some memories, like the nights they'd sit in the park and get drunk or just kick back and talk shit, at least until the cops would chase them out. Those were the good times, when he felt as if he was part of something—part of a unit of people who had your back, who would go to the wall and die for you if it came to that.

He'd found the same thing in the military to some extent, but that was by necessity, not by choice. You had to trust your unit or you'd die out there. He'd made friends, but not brothers. He'd left his real brothers twelve years ago, and he hadn't even told them why, or said goodbye.

Now he just felt alone. Even back home, he was still alone, roaming the deserted streets where once he was in a packed car full of his brothers. Or with Anna.

His cell phone buzzed, so he pulled to the curb and dragged it out.

It was Ellen. "Did I wake you?"

"No. I was out driving around. I was going to come by tomorrow. I got in late, so I didn't want to wake the kids you have staying there."

"Well, there's a problem."

He went on immediate alert. "What's wrong?"

"George isn't here. He went out earlier tonight and isn't back yet."

"Where did he go?"

"I don't know, honey. He didn't tell me. I'm a little worried."

Dante shifted his gaze to the clock on the car dashboard. It was one in the morning.

He knew George Clemons. George was a military man, rigid in his routine. Bedtime was nine for the little kids, ten for the teens, and eleven for the adults. Unless there was an emergency, you didn't deviate from the routine. And he adored his wife. Unless things had changed a lot in the twelve years he'd been gone, something was off.

"You two have a fight?"

Ellen laughed. "We don't fight, Dante. You know that. I love that man the same now as I did the day he asked me to marry him."

And that's what he'd liked about living with them. Stability without tension. The Clemonses were solid. George wouldn't just walk out on Ellen and leave without a word. Which meant something was wrong.

"I'll be right over."



Dante parked in front of the house just as a hot-looking black Harley pulled into the driveway.

The guy took off his helmet and turned to shoot Dante a glare.

No way. Taller, his arms covered in tattoos and he definitely had a lot more muscle showing under that leather vest than he'd had when they were kids, but Dante would know Gabe anywhere.

Gabe laid the helmet on the back of the bike and headed toward him, a smirk drawing his lips up.

"Finally decided to come back, huh?"

Dante pulled Gabe into a quick hug, then drew back. "It was more like a command that I be here for their anniversary."

Gabe nodded. "Nice of you to show up. And good timing, too."

"Yeah. Ellen call you about George?"

"She's worried, and you know her. Nothing fazes her."

"Let's go inside."

Dante knew Ellen would be happy to see him, but the tight squeeze she gave him spelled a lot more than happiness.

She was past the point of worry and well into terrified.

Now it was up to him and Gabe to settle her down and hopefully figure out where the hell George was while Ellen wrung her hands together and paced the kitchen.

They'd remodeled, torn out the tiny kitchen where he and the guys used to cram their growing, oversize bodies around the tiny table. Now it was bright, with lots of overhead lighting, and a sturdy solid wood table sat in the place of the old metal one. You could seat an army there.

Ellen had coffee ready when they'd walked in. He sat at the table and downed the brew, stared up at the only woman he'd ever considered a decent mother to him. She looked as worried as she'd sounded over the phone, her short, slightly graying red hair mussed from dragging her hands through it.

"He didn't say anything about where he was going?" Dante asked.

She shook her head and wrapped her fingers around her mug. Her hands trembled. "No. I figured the boys—we have three right now, all in the raging throes of puberty—had just gotten on his nerves tonight and he needed to drive it off."

"You'd think after years as a drill sergeant there wasn't enough attitude in the world that would annoy him," Gabe said. "We never got on his nerves, and if we couldn't rattle him, I don't think anyone could."

The corners of her mouth lifted. "True enough, but he's older now. His patience isn't what it used to be."

"Okay, so maybe that's all it is," Dante suggested. "He went for a drive and he'll be back."

"I thought so at first, but a half hour, hour at most and he'd have been home. He's been gone three hours."

"Flat tire or car trouble?" Dante suggested.

"He has his cell. He'd have called me to let me know. He'd never let me get worried like this."

"I assume you tried to call him?" Gabe asked.

"He didn't answer."

That wasn't good. Dante didn't want to say it, but the one thing George and Ellen had taught him was to be a straight shooter. "Maybe we should call the police, find out if there've been any accidents."

She sank into one of the chairs. "I've been putting that off. I could call Roman."

"Wait," Dante said. "Roman? Why?"

"Roman's a detective," she said. Dante shifted his gaze to Gabe, who shrugged. "I know. Go figure, right?"

This whole night so far had been mind-boggling.

"Okay, call him."

Ellen went to get her phone, a tremor in her hand as she flipped through the numbers. She pressed the button and held the phone to her ear, waiting, her gaze focused on Dante and Gabe.

"Roman? It's Ellen. I'm sorry to call so late, but it's George. He seems to be missing."

She paused a beat. "No, I don't think there's anything to worry about, but Dante thought—" She smiled. "Yes, he's back for the anniversary party. Yes, we've kept in touch over the years. He's fine, honey. But about George…"

Dante listened while Ellen told Roman about George.

Roman a cop. He didn't see that one at all. Then again, he'd never asked Ellen about the guys. His conversations with her had been short over the years, just enough to catch up with her and George, to tell them he was okay. That had been it. Never about his brothers.

He hadn't wanted to know about them, hadn't wanted to think about them, or miss them.

But now, he realized he'd missed a lot. He shifted his gaze to Gabe. Motorcycle and tattoos. What the hell had he been up to all these years?


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Romantic Suspense that will make you SURPRISED at the end

    My first real romantic suspense novel without the paranormal being involved and what are my thoughts...well, don't look at the rate score I gave this book as being bad. I actually think of it more of a 3.5 star book. Don't get me wrong, I liked this book. I liked the suspense to it and I liked how the book took a twist at the end that I wasn't really expecting. As far as the sex scenes and some of the actual action to the book, I wasn't really impressed. I'm more into hardcore sex scenes, but this book was about capturing the killer on the loose.

    12 years ago, the character, Anna Pallino was attacked in the alley behind her ice cream shoppe she worked at when she was 16 years old. She never got over the attack and still suffered with panic attacks. She had her 4 bestfriends there during the attack that went after the attacker for her that night. They thought though they had did something the attacker that could send them all back to Juvie, so that night two of the guys went their own way and two of the guys stayed behind to watch over Anna. Anna even changed her career choice and became a cop to help her over that night.

    What Anna doesn't know is that night would relive itself 12 years later, but this time it would involve her bestfriend's foster father and a few other close one's in her life. Her bestfriend/lover, Dante comes back from 12 years of being away. She wants him to know that she has changed and he can't just win her heart over again. Dante of course hasn't stopped loving Anna. They're chemistry in this book was amazing. You could tell after 12 years of being away from each other they had some serious tension between them both. When they finally give in to each other, it's much needed. Dante is very gentle and loving towards Anna and very protectice still. He knows how much she has gone through and he takes it slow with her when she is ready. I think that is why I loved his character the most. (But also because he had mystery to him that every other character was trying to figure out). Anna of course I loved her because she was strong even when she was attacked 12 years ago. She takes her cop job seriously and always tells people, she doesn't need backup. She can take care of herself.

    When the killings keep piling up in the book and the killer starts targeting Anna's friends and starts leaving her love notes and flowers on her doorstep...Anna has to look back 12 years ago to find out who the killer really is because something isn't adding up. What she finds out surprises her and even her 4 guy friends.

    What Jaci Burton does though, makes you as a reader go WHOA, I definitely wasn't expecting it to be that character. I had to re-read a few sentences in the book to make sure I got the killer's name right. I couldn't believe it. I think that is what made me interested in this book the most.

    I recommend this book to all the romantic suspense lovers out there. As for the usual readers who love paranormal romance and are expecting some major heated love scenes...just remember, not every author is the same. Jaci Burton is an amazing author. I definitely liked this book, but it wasn't my fave of the year. I do look forward to the next book in the series and hope the next character Jaci writes about is Gabe. He definitely had a mystery to him and I definitely want to know why he chose the job he did in this book after that attack 12 years ago. I think he's hiding something.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2014

    Good but too long

    ## At first I was loving this book. I loved the crime-drama aspect. Interviewing suspects, following leads, collecting evidence, autopsy results, tox screens, etc.... It was like an episode of Criminal Minds. Very suspensful and the anticipation rocked. However, when I was 200 pages into it, it seemed to drag on with no progress. I felt too many additional people died before they caught the killer. It needed to be about 50 pages shorter because I started losing interest. Also, the heroine was supposed to be a badass cop, so strong and capable, but in fact was the opposite. She kept saying she could take care of herself. NOT. She had panic attacks on the job, was attacked 3 times and all 3 times had to be saved by the hero. I found her to be weak and her detective skills lacking, hence all the unnecessary dead bodies. 3 stars was the best I could do.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    Catasm

    I never suspected he was the killer. I loved this book enough to reread it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Elf town

    The shimmering town of white buildings sat behind a waterfall, in a hidden valley. A white statue of an elf stood proudly in the center.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    I loved this book

    I loved this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    great read!

    great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Good Read

    I enjoyed this book. It keep me guessing and made things interesting.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    Thriller AND HAWT!!!

    Absolutely loved the twists and turns and surprise ending!! Loved the love story as well as the suspense!! Can't wait for the next book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Boring and flat

    I have read many of Jaci Burton's books and can't figure out what happened here. Great premise, interesting cast of characters, and the possible questions of if everyone is who they say they are. But who cares? There is no emotion here and the reader simply has to take the author's word on the relationships between the characters because there is not depth or feeling to these characters.

    Reading the dialogue you usually get a feel for the characters - serious, jokester, flirt, menace. There is no way to get a read on these characters - there's absolutely no insight into any of these people. The passages of time in the story is very off kilter too.

    Possible storyline SPOLIER:
    The main character's father is killed, she supposedly is in shock, then the next line says it's two weeks later. What????? The main character's love interest says he's military black op and doesn't exist on paper, but as a cop she just takes it on faith and he just decides to walk away from his previous life no hitches and no questions asked? I don't think so.

    I definitley WON'T be reading the next book in the series because frankly I don't care. Burton has done much better in many other books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    loved it

    I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't put the book down. And it keep me guessing all the way to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Nothing special

    I'm extremely shocked at all the good reviews this book got. i've read quite a few of Jaci's books and was really excited about this new series. So it was a huge disappointment at how boring this book was. Yea there were a few 'no way' big shocker moments, but for a romantic suspense i was pretty disappointed. i found myself constantly skipping paragraphs and sometimes entire pages of useless, repetitive information. I tend to like racier or stonger love scenes so i was a little bored with how soft those were too. all in all i'd say the entire book was pretty boring. if you want a really good romatic supsense, than i'd suggest Pamela Clare's I-Team series or any number of Lora Leighs books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Yummy read!

    I was totally hooked into the story from the title, to be bluntly honest. And, well, ok, so the cover had me sold on wanting to read this like 50% (or more, lol).When I looked at that cover my thought process was something like "Steamy..murder..intense..murder..SCORE!",more or less.And as often is the case, my gut instinct was right on the money, or right on the novel as the case is. The writing was really cool, it flowed beautifully, very conducive to a great suspense atmosphere, and the characters were really cool, pretty much all of them, and that's not an easy feat to pull. I didn't like all the characters, but they were all cool to read regardless. I especially disliked Roman and his "honey" blabbing up and down and all over my read, and I was sort of troubled over my reaction to him up to point. I liked the rest of the brothers, Gabe more then Roman for sure, and obviously Dante the best. I mean, who wouldn't, army guy, Special Ops, black ops, action-yummy-uniform-man with blue eyes and all that magnetism? Seriously, Dante was so good, I want to read stories from parallel universes about him in like 100 relationships. Yummy doesn't begin to cover it; the man is that really smart, really sneaky sort of guy, great instincts, all trained and muscled all over, take-charge...the assertive type, you know? The kind that gives you a squeeling fit just by giving you the full force "I want you and we both know I'm gonna have you, and I'm gonna have you real good" stare? Yeah...when those come in stores, I'm totally signing up on the waiting list for one. Anna was a sweetheart, I loved her instantly; I enjoyed watching her evolve and manage to slightly resolve some of her issues, she was totally realistic and believable to me in pretty much all ways. I thought Dante was like godsend to her, and their chemistry was off the charts. I kept thinking while I read scenes of them together being, you know, grown-ups, man this writer needs to write me some steamy erotica because she most certainly has the flair for it. And then I went on to read that she had written some hot stuff, which totally made sense to me, I mean the hot scenes were yumificently hot. (yes, it's not a word from the dictionary, I made it up, admire my genius after a night of reading and no sleep! *mwahahaha* uhm...) If there's anything I'd tweak a little about this novel maybe it would be the pace in some places. I mean, a suspense has to have the right pace to keep you all tense and wondering, but slow enough to build real substance, and a lot of the time I felt we were exactly where we should have been, but there were a few parts where I wished we'd be moving a bit faster. This would easily be a 5 butterflies read for me, it has it all, a really interesting plot, good writing, charming characters, the right atmosphere - a delight. I could have gone fangirl all over it if it had been juuuust a tad bit faster in places. But it's awesome as it is. To sum it all up, if you like romantic suspense I say you should totally give this a try, it was an awesome way to spend my hours!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Usually I can figure out who the killer is before the end....but not this time!

    I really did not know who the killer was until the end. What a surprise! I recommend the book.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    Good Read....

    I really enjoy this author & this book did not disappoint! Looking forward to the next book in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    so so

    Good read, but not ur typical jaci burton. Little disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Great book!

    Loved the book. Characters were great. Mystery had lots of twists and turns. Kept you guessing all the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    Loved it! Awsome book totally 5 stars.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    Surptise

    4 STARS
    Last night did not want to put book down by 1:00 AM had hard time keeping awake, so I cheated and went and read the last chapter than I could sleep and not think this guys bad oh maybe this is what happens. Than first thing this morning read the rest of the whole book. Still not guessing all of it even though I knew ending. So it has a lot of suspense, mystery that keep you guessing all the way to through.
    The story opens with Anna Pallino just closing the ice cream parlor she works
    at. Anna is 16 and her boyfriend Dante not quite 18 comes in as usual with his 3 foster brothers to get ice cream. Some happens and Dante leaves that night and disappears.
    12 years later he is back because foster mom Elene asks him to come for her 25th wedding anniversey. Dante has only kept in touch with his foster parents not even asking any questions about his brothers or Anna.
    Dante. Gabe, Roman and Jeff had been best friends and foster brothers till that night.
    Now that he is back a crime has happened at the same place just like it had that night. Dante has a lot of secrets and does not tell anyone where or what he has been up too the last 12 years.
    Anne is now a police detective in charge of the scene. But they never reported about the crime 12 years ago. She still has panick attacks and hides them from everyone.
    Roman is a cop too. Gabe is now working for the Mob rides a motorcycle with lots of tatoos. He left the same night as Dante been back 2 years. and Jeff is a insurance agent. They all are still protective of Anna
    I hope Gabe gets his own book and we learn more about him later.
    The Characters are good and you care about them and want to know a bunch more of their lives. It is emotional and I cried a few places. It is good story their is some love scenes and viloence. But it keeps keeping you on edge.
    I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Absolutely must check it out

    Great story! I loved and definitely recommend this book! When I think of an ice cream parlor, teen love and a group of best friends, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Well, let me tell you, the warm and fuzzies only lasted until Anna Pallino made a simple trash trip to the ice cream parlor's dumpster out in the alley. The assault on Anna Pallino in that humid, malodorous, dark alley was life changing not only for her, but for her boyfriend Dante and his three foster brothers, Roman, Jeff and Gabe. For the attacker it was life-ending. Twelve years later the past has finally caught up to the five of them with several copy cat murders leading many to believe Dante is the killer. Anna must choose whether to believe circumstantial evidence or her heart.could it really be Dante-the one who saved her from her attacker so many years ago? The race against time to catch the killer has begun.

    I loved Anna's character as she is willful, brave, intelligent, and kicka$$ in a no holds barred kind of way. Dante made me melt; he is loyal, protective, powerfully sexy, patient and loving.

    The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton was an amazing just-can't-put-it-down book! I was whisked away by loveable characters, creative plots and scenes. It was chock-full of crime and suspense, as well as playful bantering and romance. If you're looking for a book with twists and turns that keeps you guessing "who-dunnit" until the very end, you definitely need to put this on your "Must-Read" list - you will not be disappointed!

    Originally reviewed for Daydrmzzz(dot)blogspot(dot)com

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another fantastic novel from author Jaci Burton, this romantic suspense will keep you guessing until the very end! 4.5 stars

    Twelve years ago was the worst night of Anna Pallino's life. Attacked outside of her after-school job, Anna is nearly raped and killed when her boyfriend, Dante Renaldi, finds her. Pulling the monster off of Anna, Dante and his three foster brothers accidently beat the man to death. Fearful that the police will go after the four boys for their prior juvenile records, Anna convinces them to leave while she calls her father, a local police detective, who hides their involvement. Little did she know, that would be the last time she'd see the love of her young life for over a decade.
    No longer the scared teenage, Detective Anna Pallino retains strict control over her life, allowing few people to get close since that fateful night. When Dante Renaldo shows up at a homicide scene though, all that hard won control goes right out the window.
    In town for his foster parent's 25th wedding anniversary, Dante didn't plan to see the one girl that he's never been able to forget. Being in the Special Forces, Dante can't afford any ties, but when people close to him are beaten to death and murdered one by one, he won't turn his back on Anna, even if she does believe circumstantial evidence that he is involved. Now the real question is; was there someone else in that alley twelve years ago that saw what they did, and are they out for revenge?

    Jaci Burton's newest romantic suspense, The Heart of a Killer, was a nail biting all-nighter filled with danger and romance with surprising twists and a mind blowing conclusion!
    With a superb cast of characters and suspense oozing from each page where everyone is suspect, I was reeled in from the beginning. However, Jaci Burton fans be warned; this is a romantic suspense so don't expect her usual erotic romance scenes. Though she does provide a scorching hot hero, Dante, and equally hot tattooed up biker bad boy and foster brother, Gabe. These two had me melting with their first appearance in the story at the age of eighteen.

    Jaci Burton gives readers a believable plot line that moved at a constant and quick pace with a witty dialogue, captivating characters and intriguing subplots. The whodunit aspect of this novel was out of this world; every time I thought I had it figured out I got thrown for another loop. It was like watching a horror flick play out on the pages!

    I loved each and everyone one of the main and secondary characters. Anna was a bit of a hard-ass and I didn't expect to like her at first but as Jaci Burton peeled away her layers and threw her in these heart wrenching circumstances I began to connect with her. Though I did still feel that she was a little over the top with her grudge with Dante their chemistry together was undeniable. Dante, well there wasn't anything about him not to love IMO, though I would have liked to delve into more of his special ops past. I am really hoping to get a story from Gabe next, with the glimpses we see here and his undercover work in the mob, wow, I know his book is going to be a-maze-ing!

    Another hit to add to Jaci Burton's list of electrifying works, The Heart of a Killer is a must read for romantic suspense fans!

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